New Gay In Town: The Great Divide

By Branden Lee

It’s no secret that Atlanta is a racially divided city. Pretty much every every major city in United States has a racially divided gay scene. Certain clubs attract more white gays, and certain clubs cater to the black gays. It’s like this everywhere.

I’ve always preferred the mixed crowds. Diversity has always been a huge part of my life. All my best friends are different races. In high school my four best friends and I called ourselves “Diverse Group” since we were a group of five guys and girls, gay and straight, black, white, Mexican, Japanese, and Filipino. The very first guy I ever hooked up with was Lebanese. I’ve never felt the need to stick with my race, or felt limited to only date/engage with my own race I’m black, but never even had a black friend until I went to college.

So it’s been a bit odd moving to Atlanta and interacting with black gay men that do tend to only date/hookup with other black gays, and only go to the black gay clubs.

When I first moved to Atlanta, I was flirting and chatting with some locals. I wanted to have guys ready to meet up with as soon as I moved here. One was this cute, black, chubby, bearded guy. He called me on one of my first nights in the city. Normally I hate talking to guy on the phone before meeting, since talking on the phone before meeting is a waste of my time.  If you want to chat, then we can do it over drinks/the dinner you just bought us. I don’t get shit out of chatting on the phone.

Anyway, I decided not to ignore his call. We began chatting. He immediately could tell by my voice that my dating history wasn’t very black. The truth is that although I have been with white, black, Asian, Latino, and Middle Eastern guys, like 75% of the guys I’ve been with were white. This guy wasn’t the first black guy I could tell immediately lost interest in me as soon as I said that most of my dating/sexual history has been with white men.

I’ve been turned off and apprehensive about pursuing a guy after finding out I’m not his type. So maybe that’s why some men lose interest in discovering that the person they’re going on a date with doesn’t usually date the group the fit into.

Most black gay men I’ve met do seem to either only date black or are very anti-black men. I think every black person in America has racial issues. It does seem like only a small minority does date every race and is equal opportunity. I do think many black gay men do pursue other black guys because there is more familiarity, relatability, and comfort. Plus with living in a racist society, it’s easier to connect with someone that can relate to the struggle of existing as a minority among a racist majority.

I did only just start dating black men last year. I think watching a bunch of black gay web series and seeing black gay couples made me more open to it. I have been guilty of internalized racism. Though I never really lived anywhere with a large black gay population before Atlanta. I lived in mostly white areas, so I tended to date mostly white men.

As terrible as it sounds, I can relate to the dating profiles that say “not into black guys”. We live in a racist society with a media that is constantly reiterating that black people are the ugliest, poorest, dumbest, most violent, most criminal, and most diseased group of people. Are we supposed to be surprised that people may not want to date black people if this is all they’re taught about blackness?

I’m black and I’ve been guilty of fearing blackness due to growing up in an area where there were barely any black people, and my only interactions with blackness were the media’s constantly degradation of blackness.

I’m glad that I overcame my internalized racism and fear of blackness. If I hadn’t then I would be absolutely miserable in Atlanta.

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